Someone in a position of power at DVO looked at this video and thought, “This is a great video. Send it out to all the MTB sites. Now people are gonna know our shit is good to go.”
These are the only things I can conclude after watching that video:
1. The Emerald fork will probably bend before it snaps. Probably.
Based on the video evidence, we can conclude that, at least when deflected in one direction, the fork bends a really long way before it snaps.
We don’t know when it will snap, crackle, or pop when bent in that direction, or how much force was required to do so. We don’t know if they ever got it to snap, crackle, or pop in that direction. We don’t know if the stress test shown in the video permanently deformed the materials, and we don’t know how much deflection or force is required to permanently deform the fork. We don’t know how much deflection the fork will sustain in other directions before failing. We don’t know what effect impulse vs. constant forces will have on the fork.
Most of all we have no baseline and no way to compare the tests shown in the video to literally anything else whatsoever. Which leads us to our next key learning from this video:
2. As a company, DVO is probably ethical. Probably.
After watching the video, we can conclude that DVO does test their forks. We don’t know if they test them a lot or a little. All we know is that tests occur.
What were the results of those tests?
Do they test products more or less than their competition?
Did DVO test products from their competitors?
Do we have any means to interpret the results of those tests or compare against the competition?
We have no idea.
Here’s another fun game: I’m going to list all the suspension fork manufacturers I can think of, and you’re going to guess which of them doesn’t test their products:
If you guessed “all of those companies test their products,” you would be correct. Every single one of those companies test their products. Some test them more, some test them less, but no one just doesn’t test stuff. That one of the steps required to be legit. Or here’s a better word: Ethical. It would be unethical to not test products, because someone could get hurt using your product if it failed in a predictable, measurable, avoidable way. Testing your product is one of those absolute bare minimums for being considered a real company.
Of course, Bryson Martin shared this on Vital: “Unlike many other companies, we just wanted to show everyone that this fork went through very stringent laboratory testing and passed with flying colors.”
That’s the MTB equivalent of claiming “World’s Greatest Cheeseburger:”
DVO, we don’t even know if your product is better off because of your testing. Maybe the results were horrifying and your product is dangerous, but you have too much invested and there is no cost effective way to fix your product, so you’re just going to produce it anyway and let the consumers deal with it. We call this “The Avid Elixir Approach.”
Maybe you discovered that your product is massively overbuilt and over-engineered, and you could make it 99% as reliable and only Andre the Giant would notice the difference (not really, he’s dead. And seriously, it’s 2013, that’s a pretty weak pop-culture reference). Maybe by cutting back a little bit, you could save all the consumers 30% in the process. But maybe you just didn’t change anything because you have too much invested and there is no cost effective way to fix your product, so you just going produce it anyway and let the consumers deal with it. We call this “The Magura Gustav Approach.”
Whatever, I have no reason to assume the guys at DVO are evil or deceptive. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt: we’ll assume that DVO did the bare minimum to be considered ethical, and they tested their products to the benefit of their products and consumers. Of course this doesn’t make DVO special or differentiate their product in any way, but we can still give them kudos for doing the bare minimum.
Congratulations DVO, what do you want? A gold star? Great, here’s a gold star for testing your fancy new fork: